Times are definitely changing.
Matt Levatich, Harley-Davidson’s president and CEO, is officially stepping down from both roles at the company. After serving the company for 26 years, the company and Levatich mutually agreed that the time is now for new leadership, according to a statement.
It’s no secret that the Motor Company has had a rough time in recent years, and most recently reported an even steeper sales decline than expected to round out 2019. The company clearly needed to make some changes going forward. Board member Jochen Zeitz—who turned Puma’s fortunes around and also helped bring the LiveWire project to life—will step into the roles of acting president and CEO, as well as Chairman of the Board.
“The Board and Matt mutually agreed that now is the time for new leadership at Harley-Davidson. Matt was instrumental in defining the More Roads to Harley-Davidson accelerated plan for growth, and we will look to new leadership to recharge our business,” Zeitz said in a statement.
“On behalf of the Board, I would like to thank Matt for his 26 years of service to Harley-Davidson. He has worked tirelessly to navigate the Company through a period of significant industry change while ensuring the preservation of one of the most iconic brands in the world. The Harley-Davidson Board and leadership team will continue to work closely together as we search for a new CEO."
Zeitz has been on the Board at Harley-Davidson since 2007—and his own career experience is solidly grounded in creating business practices that are both more sustainable and successful from the ground up.
“My belief is that every company has an opportunity to innovate by creating business solutions for services or products that significantly reduce your impact and create more demand for your product….well, unless you are an extracting business. In that case, you're a dinosaur and you’re dying,” Zeitz said in a November 2019 interview with Wired UK.
No one knows what the future holds for Harley-Davidson, but it’s clear that significant changes are afoot.